Grow a Fall Vegetable Garden

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The vegetable garden might be looking a little worse for wear by now but, there’s still plenty of growing time left. We won’t see frost here in Burke County until late October or even early November and that gives the ambitious gardener plenty of time for a fall garden. There are many fall crops that do well in our area. Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and mustard are good choices, but there are many others that will make a quick crop.

When deciding on those fall varieties, simply find the days to maturity on the package and count back from October 31. You’ll be able to determine whether or not there is time to grow that particular selection. For example, some cucumbers make in 40-50 days. That would be a perfect late summer crop. There are many different varieties to choose from.

Till the garden and apply fertilizer as you would for the spring planting. The soil is warm and soil moisture is probably lower in the late summer so plant seeds a little deeper. If it is particularly hot, a piece of burlap or even newspaper can be laid on the newly planted soil to shade the area. It should be checked daily and removed as soon as seeds start to germinate. Plants require an inch of water per week so keep a water hose handy. Don’t let the soil become dry when plants are young. Crops will benefit from a light application of nitrogen 3 to 6 weeks after planting. Many vegetable transplants are available for fall planting and this will speed up the harvest considerably. Purchase only vigorous, healthy plants. You don’t have time to nurse plants back to health!

A complete list of suitable fall vegetables and their days to maturity is available at the Extension office. If you would like to have a copy of this publication, give us a call at 828-764-9480 or go online to Growing a Fall Vegetable Garden for this information.